What Are the Best Home Improvements For Resale (2024)

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Best Home Improvements For Resale

You might have thought of doing some renovations before putting your house on the market. Actually, many sellers are looking for ways to get the top dollar for their houses. Thus sellers often try to do a home renovation that can add more value to their house. In fact, the question is which renovations add the most value? Doing small renovations is one way to boost the price of your home, apart from marketing strategies. I’m often asked by sellers, What are the best home renovations that pay off? And what are the best home improvements for resale that add the most value to the house?

In order to list what are the best home improvements for resale, we’ll start with the most important improvements for your home. Then you’ll see what renovations you should prioritize and what home improvements you should avoid with a limited budget.

The Top 16 best home improvements for resale are the result of a survey by Royal Lepage Canada of 750 real estate professionals. Real estate professionals across Canada voted for the best renovations that add the most value to your home. Also, the renovation price list is added to help you choose the best home improvements for resale.

TOP 16 of the Best Home Improvements that add the most value to your home ( 2024 ):

When preparing to sell your home, strategic renovations can make a significant impact on its resale value. Investing in the right upgrades not only enhances the appeal of your property but also increases its market value. Here are some of the best home improvements for resale that can attract potential buyers and maximize your return on investment.

What home improvements add the most value 2024? The survey shows that sellers, on average, are willing to spend around 2.5% of their home price on renovations before listing it for sale. Thus in an area such as GTA (Greater Toronto Area), where the average price of a home is $992,950, the average amount sellers usually are comfortable to invest in renovating their house before listing it for sale, is around $24,833.

The approximate prices of the top home renovations in the below list are based on an average $990K house in the Greater Toronto Area. Each part of Canada has different micro and macro markets. The numbers may vary in different areas depending on supply and demand, as well as general market conditions at the time of sale.

Rank Project Potential increase to home’s selling price Average Cost
1 Kitchen Renovation and Remodelling Up to $123,200 ( 12.5% ) $38,500
2 Bathrooms Renovation and Remodelling Between $24,200 ( 2.5%) to $123,200 ( 12.5% ) $24,200 to $60,500
3 Finishing the Basement Between $24,200 ( 2.5%) to $123,200 ( 12.5% ) $24,200 to $60,500
4 Eco-upgrades ( Windows, Insulation, AC/Furnace, etc. ) Less than $99,000 ( Less than 10%) $22,000 to $44,000
5 Basement Apartment W/ Walk out Less than $99,000 ( Less than 10%) $38,500 to $55,000
6 Landscaping Less than $73,700 ( Less than 7.5%) $11,000 to $27,500
7 Interior Painting and Finishings Less than $73,700 ( Less than 7.5%) $8,800 to $27,500
8 Exterior Painting and Finishings Less than $49,500 ( Less than 5%) $11,000 to $38,500
9 Building a new Deck Less than $24,200 ( Less than 2.5%) $11,000 to $22,000
10 Building a swimming Pool Less than $24,200 ( Less than 2.5%) $33,000 to $49,500

1. Kitchen Renovation and Remodelling

Potential Added Value to the home: $123,200 ( 12.5% )

Average Cost: $38,500

Based on the survey, the kitchen is the single most important home improvement that can add value to your home for resale. Personally, as a Toronto real estate agent, I’ve seen the most return on investment in renovating the kitchen, followed by bathroom renovations.

Kitchen renovation, as one of the best home improvements for resale, can start with simply changing cabinet doors and appliances up to total renovation and remodelling of the kitchen. Remodelling can be removing a wall, expanding the kitchen, adding an island, etc.

When it comes to the kitchen itself, no matter what cabinetry you choose, be prepared to spend it on the countertop. A nice countertop would make mediocre cabinets look good. I highly recommend using the same material as your countertop for the backsplash, preferably the same colour.

A nice stone countertop beats any other synthetic, cheaper materials when it comes to making your kitchen presentable. Then when it gets to the kitchen, try not to be frugal (unless you are renovating lower-priced homes). The kitchen is the main showcase of your property when a potential buyer walks into it.

A modern, well-designed kitchen is a major selling point for prospective buyers. Consider upgrading countertops, cabinets, and appliances to create a contemporary and functional space. Stainless steel appliances and granite countertops are popular choices that can add both aesthetic appeal and value.

2. Bathrooms Renovation and Remodeling

Potential Added Value to the home: Between $24,200 ( 2.5%) to $123,200 ( 12.5% )

Average Cost for 2 bathrooms: $13,200 to $27,500

As a Toronto Realtor who has made several home improvements before marketing a property in Toronto, I can confidently say that bathroom renovations are the second most important improvement that adds value to your home.

Renovating bathrooms can offer a high return on investment. Update fixtures, replace old tiles, and consider adding energy-efficient features. A stylish and well-maintained bathroom not only adds value but also appeals to buyers seeking a move-in-ready home.

Most Recommended Renovations:

Bathrooms can be done at low cost by merely changing the vanity and mirror, up to changing and remodeling the whole bathroom. Depending on your home’s layout, the bathroom renovations can vary. If your home is a condo, surely you cannot remodel your bathrooms or move walls. However, if you have a house, you can do much more compared to condos. Nevertheless, If you have an extra closet or space, try to remodel (if feasible) and make your bathroom slightly bigger. But before doing the reno, make sure to consult your local Architect and your local Real Estate Agent to confirm the trendy design in your market area and check that you’d be on track in making the best home improvement for resale.

If you have two bathrooms on the same floor, make sure one of them has a tub and the other one only a shower. It is important to keep the potential buyer in mind when you renovate your home before selling it. When you renovate a home for resale, it’s the potential buyer that is going to pay for it eventually, so consult with your Realtor to decide based on the general buyer in your local market.

Read More: Important Tips To Know Before Selling Your Toronto Condo

3. Finishing the Basement

Potential Added Value to the home: Between $24,200 ( 2.5%) to $123,200 ( 12.5% )

Average Cost: $22,000 to $60,500

Developers of the newer houses usually deliver the house without a finished basement. If you live in a house where the basement is not finished, it can be one of the best home renovations for resale to be done before selling your house. Depending on the extent of finishes, the cost will vary. For example, if you want to add an extra room, a three-piece bathroom, a kitchen and media room, etc., the reno cost would be high. Whereas merely finishing the walls and floors and putting a bar somewhere could be done cheaper.

To finish the basement, you would need to consider the potential buyers in mind. If you have a 3500 sq ft house in a posh neighbourhood, the chances are that the buyers might want a nanny room in the basement. Also, those types of buyers won’t buy into cheap renos. What I mean is that you should choose the extent of home improvements based on the area and potential buyers.

We see more and more developers are getting used to delivering the houses with unfinished basements to keep the pre-construction price more competitive and more attractive to the buyers. In that market, it’s up to the owners to do some of the work at the time of sale. That’s why it makes the finished basement one of the best home improvements for resale 2021.

4. Eco-upgrades ( Windows, Insulation, AC/Furnace, etc. )

Potential Added Value to the home: Less than $99,000 ( Less than 10%)

Average Cost: $22,000 to $44,000

Today’s homebuyers are often looking for energy-efficient features. Consider upgrading windows, doors, and insulation to improve energy efficiency. Adding smart home features, such as a programmable thermostat or energy-efficient appliances, can also make your property more appealing.

The good part of the Eco-upgrades is that you might be eligible to rebate a portion of the money you spend from the Government incentives, in addition to the fact that they add value to your home for resale. To know a list of Eco-upgrades incentives you might be eligible for, check your local government’s website.

Apart from the incentives, the Eco-upgrades can be advertised while selling the home. Newer windows, proper insulation, and a high-efficiency furnace can reduce the cost of energy. Besides, replacing all those items would mean that the new buyer doesn’t have to deal with any of those issues in the foreseeable future.

A higher lifespan of Furnace and A/C and those items, translates to less carrying costs for the potential buyers. On top of that, your home inspection report will come back cleaner as any home inspector would inspect all these items as part of a standard home inspection. Thus, Eco-Friendly upgrades are number 4 on the list of best home renovations for resale, increasing value in 2021.

5. Basement Apartment W/ Walk out

Potential Added Value to the home: Less than $99,000 ( Less than 10%)

Average Cost: $38,500 to $55,000

Converting an unfinished basement or attic into a functional living space adds valuable square footage to your home. Buyers appreciate the extra room for recreation, a home office, or additional bedrooms.

Basement apartments are great incentives for potential buyers. You can easily advertise them to your advantage since it’s one of the best home improvements for resale in 2021. And a smart buyer also can easily translate the amount of rent they can get for the basement into the price.

In order to turn your basement into a legal basement apartment, check with your local municipality to know the bare minimums that you might need. Bare Minimums are usually a certain height, or fire codes, etc. If your basement doesn’t have enough height, that’d be the trickiest part of the basement improvements. If you don’t have enough clear height, you’d need to do the underpinning and dig down to make the bare minimums. That’s the costly part.

If you don’t have a walkout already, building one would be costly too. Depending on your area, it could cost $11,000 to $22,000 for just the walkout. If you need underpinning, that would be another cost, depending on the size of your basement and how much you need to dig down. So although making a legal basement would be one of the best renovations for resale, you need to see if you can afford the cost? Or even if you have time for that?

6. Curb Appeal Enhancements

Potential Added Value to the home: Less than $73,700 ( Less than 7.5%)

Average Cost: $11,000 to $27,500

This one is only applicable if you live in a house, either a detached or a semi-detached house. So all the condo owners or townhouse owners, please skip to number 7.

First impressions matter, and curb appeal is a key factor in attracting potential buyers. Invest in landscaping, fresh exterior paint, and a well-maintained front entry. A visually appealing exterior sets a positive tone for the entire property.

Landscaping is a bit tricky. Curb appeal is important. But I personally don’t suggest spending that much money on this item, even though my other 750 surveyed fellow Realtors have suggested this item as the best home upgrades for resale. I would go with the bare minimums for this one. Of course, you’d need some sort of landscaping, but you just need to look good. A $10K landscaping including nice grass, stone tiles, plants, flowers, pavement, etc., would be enough, even if you are in a posh neighbourhood. You don’t need to go overboard and make a Zen Garden! This is one of the items that I wouldn’t spend more than minimum!

7. Interior Painting and Finishings

Potential Added Value to the home: Less than $73,700 ( Less than 7.5%)

Average Cost: $8,800 to $27,500

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a home’s appearance. Stick to neutral colors to appeal to a broader range of buyers. Painting both the interior and exterior surfaces can make your home look well-maintained and ready for a new owner.

Interior painting is one of the most important home improvements for resale that adds value to your house. A nice clean paint helps you sell higher. People usually fall in love with a space that they can imagine themselves living in. If you make the interior as appealing as you can, then you’ve done a great home renovation job.

If you have a very tight budget, the painting should be the number one home improvement that increases value in your list. If you want to renovate on a budget, this order has helped my clients: Kitchen, Bathroom, Painting. You choose what works for you after consulting with a real estate agent and a contractor.

Other than painting, you can improve your home for sale with decorative finishes as well. Items such as crown moulding, finish carpentry, wall designs, woodwork, wallpaper, etc.

8. Exterior Painting and Finishings

Potential Added Value to the home: Less than $49,500 ( Less than 5%)

Average Cost: $11,000 to $38,500

If your house needs touch on the outside, definitely do it. Don’t let a broken downspout or a hole in the stucco deter potential buyers. This item is not a high priority on the home improvements list, but you shouldn’t leave obvious defects unrepaired. If you need to fix the sidings or paint them or paint the exterior, then do it. Just don’t spend that much as the return on this item is not huge!

9. Building a new Deck

Potential Added Value to the home: Less than $24,200 ( Less than 2.5%)

Average Cost: $11,000 to $22,000

This is a good home improvement idea if you have a big backyard or the lot that your home is sitting on is elevated. But I still wouldn’t go overboard with this one too. This home improvement alone can’t get you the top dollar when it comes to resale, that’s why it’s down our list.

10. Building a swimming Pool

best home improvements for resale - best renovations for resale

 

Potential Added Value to the home: Less than $24,200 ( Less than 2.5%)

Average Cost: $33,000 to $49,500

Building a swimming pool is a home renovation that many sellers avoid. Unless you have a family who loves to have a pool while you live in the house, I don’t see any positive monetary returns in terms of cost-benefit in building a swimming pool. That’s why this was the number 10 on our list.

You can still have a drink next to the pool and enjoy it, but don’t count on recouping all of the cost when it comes to selling your house.

Read More: How To Sell Your House During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

As mentioned, the above items are the results of the survey by Royal Lepage Canada. However, you can do some other things as the best home improvements for resale, two of which are introduced here.

11. Family Room Addition

Potential Added Value to the home: Less than $24,200 ( Less than 2.5%)

Average Costs: $54,464

Remember, the sunroom only counts in the square footage when the room is heated or cooled for year-round use. Also, you need to know that a sunroom adds value to your house if you live in high-end neighbourhoods, and in lower-end ones, you cannot expect noticeable value change. This addition should not be obvious, and it needs an open transition.

12.Attic Bedroom Conversion

Potential Added Value to the home: Less than $24,200 ( Less than 2.5%)

Average Costs: $39,188

Adding attic insulation can reduce your utility bills, but you need to make sure that a foil vapour barrier is installed just down toward the ceiling. It results in preventing moisture from seeping up. If your existing HVAC system doesn’t handle the load of another room, consider the cost of the second unit. Also, a solar-powered attic fan is great for saving on cooling costs. An attic fan can exhaust heat from your bedroom, powered by a solar cell on the roof.

13. Hardwood Flooring Installation:

Hardwood floors are a timeless and desirable feature for homebuyers. If your budget allows, consider replacing carpets with hardwood or refinishing existing hardwood floors. This upgrade not only adds aesthetic appeal but also makes maintenance easier for the new owners.

14. Open Floor Plan:

Many modern home buyers prefer open, spacious layouts. If feasible, consider knocking down non-structural walls to create a more open and inviting living space. This can make your home feel larger and more contemporary.

15. Updated Lighting Fixtures:

Swapping out outdated light fixtures for modern, energy-efficient options can instantly elevate the look of your home. Consider pendant lights in the kitchen, stylish chandeliers in dining areas, and updated fixtures in bathrooms.

16. Smart Home Technology:

Integrating smart home technology, such as a programmable thermostat, security system, or smart lighting, can make your property more appealing to tech-savvy buyers. These features enhance convenience and may set your home apart in a competitive market.

Conclusion:

As you can see, exterior renovations have less added value to the home compared to interior home improvements. The most favourable home renovation is the Kitchen renovation and remodelling. And the least favourable home improvement is the pool. So now you have an approximate idea of the best home improvements for resale. If you have a limited budget, you should prioritize your renovations with your real estate agent and contractor.

Investing in these best home improvements for resale not only increases the value of your property but also makes it more attractive to potential buyers. Before undertaking any renovations, it’s essential to assess your budget, prioritize projects with the highest return on investment, and consult with a real estate professional to tailor improvements to the preferences of your target market.

What Are the Best Home Improvements For Resale

 

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